CubeSat to Mars

Late Spring on MarsIn order to prepare the Human Mission to Mars, some aspects of the mission have to be researched. During a transit to the Red Planet, future crews will be exposed to potentially hazardous radiations.

A CubeSat can provide a relatively cheap and easy way to improve the radiations environment knowledge for a Mars manned mission.

Such a CubeSat could be  launched and jettisoned as a piggyback of another satellite going to Mars,

This video shows the presentation that Boris Segret gave to the 16th Annual International Mars Society Convention, held at the University of Colorado, Boulder, August 15-18, 2013. In the presentation he describes a CubeSat mission to Mars.

Watch CubeSat – Boris Segret

CubeSat on an Earth-Mars Free-Return Trajectory to study radiation hazards in the future manned mission http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EPSC2013/EPSC2013-1088.pdf

The Mars Society http://www.marssociety.org/conventions/2013

First Anniversary of Mars Rover Curiosity

In the workshop building the Rover - Image credit Beatty Robotics

In the workshop building the Rover – Image credit Beatty Robotics

The Mars rover Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, at 15:02 UT aboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft and successfully landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012, 05:17 UT.

The Rover - Image credit Beatty Robotics

The Rover – Image credit Beatty Robotics

Venture Beat reports that two sisters, Camille and Genevieve Beatty, aged 11 and 13, have built a Mars rover in a workshop in their family’s garage. They have been invited to the New York Hall of Science to show off their rover as part of a special exhibit on astronomy. The rover will roam around a mini-Martian landscape and analyze rocks with hidden heat lamps embedded inside.

Read the Venture Beat story at http://venturebeat.com/2013/08/01/check-out-the-mars-rover-these-two-girls-built-in-their-garage/

Read the blog detailing the building of the rover at http://beatty-robotics.com/category/blog

The sisters are also interested in wireless telegraphy see http://beatty-robotics.com/lunamoth-and-julajay-work-on-wireless-telegraph

NASA officials and crew members aboard the International Space Station will observe the first anniversary of the Curiosity rover’s landing on Mars at a public event in Washington from 16:00-17:30 UT (12-1:30 p.m. EDT) Tuesday, August 6.

The event will be broadcast on NASA Television and streamed live on the agency’s website.

Media and the public are welcome to attend to hear highlights from the Mars Science Laboratory’s first year of investigations, learn about upcoming NASA robotic missions to the red planet, and speak with astronauts conducting experiments in space that will enable human exploration of Mars in the 2030s.

Those interested in attending should plan to arrive at NASA Headquarters, 300 E St. SW, by 15:30 UT (11:30 a.m. EST) Seating is limited.

Participating will be:
• Charles Bolden (formerly KE4IQB), NASA administrator
• Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR and Karen Nyberg, NASA astronauts, live from the space station
• Jim Green, director, Planetary Division, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
• Sam Scimemi, director, NASA’s International Space Station Program
• Prasun Desai, acting director, Strategic Integration, NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate

The Mars Science Laboratory mission successfully placed the one-ton Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars on Aug. 6, 2012, UT, about 1 mile from the center of its 12-mile-long target area.

Within the first eight months of a planned 23-months primary mission, Curiosity met its major science objective of finding evidence of a past environment well-suited to support microbial life. With much more science to come, Curiosity’s wheels continue to blaze a trail for human footprints on Mars.

To follow the conversation online about Curiosity’s first year on Mars, use hashtag #1YearOnMars or follow @NASA and @MarsCuriosity on Twitter.

For NASA TV streaming video, schedule and downlink information, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

For more information about NASA’s exploration of Mars, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mars

For more information about the International Space Station, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/station

NASA release Curiosity Morse code picture
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/september2012/nasa_release_curiosity_morse_code_picture.htm

437 MHz – Curiosity – Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Frequencies
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/august2012/mars_reconnaissance_orbiter_frequencies.htm

Radio Amateurs Receive Mars Science Laboratory  (MSL)
https://amsat-uk.org/2011/12/02/radio-amateurs-receive-mars-science-laboratory/

Mars Rover Curiosity - Image credit NASA

Mars Rover Curiosity – Image credit NASA

7-year-old UK boy writes to NASA

Late Spring on MarsDexter, a 7-year-old from Derby in England, wrote to NASA saying he wanted to be an astronaut and go to Mars.

The Huffington Post reports that to the surprise of his mother, Katrina Anderson, NASA responded encouraging Dexter to explore space camp, get good grades and continue “reaching for the stars” and sent a parcel of photos and stickers.

Read Dexters original letter and NASA’s response on his mother’s Imgur account at http://imgur.com/a/6MqlY

Huffington Post article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/08/dexter-nasa-letter_n_3561386.html

National Public Radio (NPR) story http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/07/08/200053973/boy-writes-to-nasa-nasa-writes-back

BBC News: US Teenager’s Space Ambitions

Abby HarrisonBBC News reports that fifteen-year-old Abby Harrison is training to be an astronaut and has set herself the goal of being the first person to reach Mars.

“I remember looking up at the night sky when I was five-years-old and thinking that I wanted to go to space” she told the BBC.

Abby is currently in Moscow visiting her mentor, the astronaut Luca Parmitano KF5KDP, who is about to travel to the International Space Station.

Watch the BBC News interview at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22597923

The Star Tribune newspaper says: This week, she’s traveling to Kazakhstan to watch the launch of the Soyuz TMA-09M, a Russian craft headed for the International Space Station on May 28. She’s used her social media prowess to spearhead a successful Kickstarter-like crowdfunding campaign, raising more than $30,000 to help pay for the rare trip.

Star Tribune ‘Astronaut Abby’ is crowdfunding her way to outer space
http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/208184441.html

Tech Tuesday: Meet 15-Year Old “Astronaut Abby”
http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/tech-tuesday-meet-15-year-old-astronaut-abby/

High School Student’s RocketHub Project
https://amsat-uk.org/2013/05/11/high-school-students-rockethub-project/

Further information at

MAREA: Ham Radio Robotics

MAREA amateur radio robot - Image credit ARRL

MAREA amateur radio robot – Image credit ARRL

An ARRL article describes the Mars Lander Amateur Radio Robotics Exploration Activity.

NASA has been doing some exciting explorations of Mars with robots, currently Opportunity and Curiosity, which are maneuvered on the Martian surface by remote control.  

These robots collect and analyze soil samples and relay the results of these distant experiments back to Earth. While students can learn about these experiments in newspapers, scientific journals, on the Internet or TV, wouldn’t a more active approach provide a more engaging learning experience? Why not let students experience the same thrills as the NASA scientists and engineers through a simulation that they conduct in their own classrooms?

The basic concept of MAREA uses robotic movement commands that are attached in the text portion of an Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS) packet transmission. The APRS packet with the attached commands is sent from a “mission control” school via the terrestrial APRS network or, when possible, even via the Amateur Radio station on the passing International Space Station (ISS), to a “ground station” school. At the ground station school the command packet is received and the command data is linked by UHF radio to the “Mars” robot for execution.

The MAREA system components consist of:
• the typical 2 meter packet capable ham radio transceiver (or receiver if reception only is desired)
• a computer running a free APRS packet display program, sound card TNC (Terminal Node Controller) and serial loopback software packages
• UHF data link transceivers
• an instructional robot

Read the full ARRL article at http://www.arrl.org/marea-ham-radio-robotics

Australian Radio Ham's Spacecraft Missions

Inner West Courier – Robert Brand VK2URB

The Inner West Courier reports that Robert Brand VK2URB is hoping to break new ground with two space missions he is participating in.

The Sydney newspaper says he is involved in the communications system for the Team Stellar Lunar mission scheduled for 2014, as part of an entry in the Google Lunar X Prize.

In addition he is working on a UK-based Mars mission, scheduled for 2020, that aims to sniff out biological methane.

Read the newspaper article – From Sydney to Mars mission
http://inner-west-courier.whereilive.com.au/news/story/from-sydney-telecommunications-to-navigating-mars-mission/

Robert’s son Jason VK2FJAB was interviewed on Channel 9 TV earlier this year.
10 year old Radio Ham talks of his DIY Space Projects on TV http://www.uk.amsat.org/?p=8821